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Originally published July 11, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 11, 2005 at 8:03 PM

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Mariners trade Boone to Twins

Bret Boone, designated for assignment eight days ago, was traded this morning to the Minnesota Twins.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Bret Boone, designated for assignment eight days ago, was traded this morning to the Minnesota Twins.

"I'm pretty happy,'' Boone said this morning. "This is where I wanted to go all along.''

The move, which will bring the Seattle Mariners a player to be named later, was completed just hours before Seattle officials were to officially place the 36-year-old second baseman on irrevocable waivers and make him a free agent.

Hearing of the deal today, one club official said: "Seattle did the guy a favor. Now he's traded not released, and he's going where he wanted to go. It's good all around.''

The specifics of the trade are unknown, but given the position the Mariners were in, it is doubtful there was any significant financial side to the transaction.

If so, Seattle will continue to pay Boone the most of the pro-rated amount left owed on his $9.2 million salary for 2005, minus a pro-rated amount to be picked up by the Twins, about $150,000.

This move will sit well with Mariner players, who knew Boone had to go but were not comforted by the designated for assignment route.

"I mean, Boonie was a star here, did a lot for the organization, it doesn't seem right to just dump someone like that,'' one player said last week.

The Mariners had several non-productive trade talks leading up to Boone's designation for assignment. Officials from several teams said in recent days there was no other way for Seattle to go, as shown by similar moves in 2004 with infielder Rich Aurilia and first baseman John Olerud.

This past week, while the Mariners were thought to have talked with the Yankees and Red Sox among other teams, the source close to Boone last week kept repeating Minnesota, which is distantly chasing the White Sox in the AL Central, but leading the wild card standings.

The Twins have grown unhappy with regular second baseman Luis Rivas, and did not deem backup Nick Punto a strong enough replacement in an offense that could use some punch.

"If it goes through it would be a good fit,'' an American League scout said this morning. "The Twins are a team that focuses on strong defense, which Boone can still play, but in need of a pick-me-up, especially at second base.

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"If Boone has anything left, and he well could, it should come out in a pennant race. When he's on his game he hit the ball well to right so you can just see him shooting for the blue baggie in the Metrodome.''

The baggie reference is because above the right field wall in the Twins' indoor park is a wall of folded sections of seats covered by a huge blue tarp.

Boone, a four-time Gold Glove winner, struggled the past two years as Seattle fell from its place as a yearly contender in the American League West.

However, as the Twins are hoping, he is regarded a player who performs better as part of a good club.

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